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Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries

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  • Ghazala Azmat
  • Maia Güell
  • Alan Manning

Abstract

There is an enormous literature on gender gaps in pay and labour market participation but virtually noliterature on gender gaps in unemployment rates. Although there are some countries in which there isessentially no gender gap in unemployment, there are others in which the female unemployment rate issubstantially above the male. Although it is easy to give plausible reasons for why more women than menmay decide not to want work, it is not so obvious why, once they have decided they want a job, women insome countries are less likely to be in employment than men. This is the subject of this paper. We showthat, in countries where there is a large gender gap in unemployment rates, there is a gender gap in bothflows from employment into unemployment and from unemployment into employment. We investigatedifferent hypotheses about the sources of these gaps. Most hypotheses find little support in the data and thegender gap in unemployment rates (like the gender gap in pay) remains largely unexplained. But it doesseem to correlate with attitudes on whether men are more deserving of work than women so thatdiscrimination against women may explain part of the gender gap in unemployment rates in theMediterranean countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0607.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0607

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Gender Gap; Unemployment Rates;

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  1. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2004. "Job protection: The Macho hypothesis," 2004 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
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  8. John C. Ham & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 1999. "Women's unemployment during transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 47-78, March.
  9. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1999. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January.
  10. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
  11. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
  12. Nicoletti, Cheti & Peracchi, Franco, 2002. "A cross-country comparison of survey nonparticipation in the ECHP -ISER working paper-," ISER Working Paper Series 2002-32, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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